Boogie Chillun' Band Reunites After 43 Years

43 years ago, Richard Nixon was president, we were in the midst of the Vietnam War, and the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" had just debuted on CBS.

It was also the last time a Macon band called Boogie Chillun' made music together.

But for some reason, when they got back together again after all that time, they say they felt like only a day had passed.

In a dimly lit downtown Macon loft Wednesday, the band practiced a few hundred feet from where it all started.

Keyboard player Gary Harmon said, "Next door to the original Capricorn studios on Broadway, in a warehouse."

Harmon said Boogie Chillun' rocked in the late 1960s, as one of the bands signed by Macon record producer, Phil Walden.

He said, "It's really funny. Now, we practice early, so we can go home and go to bed. Back then, we practiced late. It didn't matter what time."

Guitar player and vocalist, Bill Pound, drummer Mike Powell, bass player Frank Tolson, guitarist and singer Bruce Culpepper, rhythm guitar player Billy Griner and vocalist Asa Howard are all in their 60s now.

In their heyday, they were students at Mount de Sales and Lanier high schools, living at home with their parents.

Mike Powell said, "We were all just kids."

They were children moonlighting on big stages, with bigger name bands.

Bill Pound said, "We really were lucky. We opened up for people like the Young Rascals, Joe Cocker, Beach Boys."

They opened shows for the Allman Brothers Band, too.

They're a big deal now. But back then, Dwayne Allman, Berry Oakley and Greg Allman were just another group on Macon's music scene.

Harmon said, "Everybody always asks, 'Did you get their autograph?' No, they were just friends."

Harmon says he shared his instruments with the Allmans. Boogie Chillun' gave the brothers a lift to gigs in Harmon's Volkswagen van.

And Powell drew the Allman Brothers a little mushroom symbol one time. It later became their symbol.

Powell said, "The original one, yeah. It was just a lark. I was sitting in my room listening to Frank Zappa or something, you know?"

He put that mushroom drawing on Butch Trucks' drums. The rest, Powell says, is just history.

He never made any money off the drawing, but he never wanted any.

He didn't think about the drawing much after Boogie Chillun' broke up in 1970. College, marriage, children and jobs became more important.

The band members intended, every now and again, to reunite.

Pound said, "The clock was ticking, and I noticed my hair was changing color."

Then this year, 43 years later, Harmon got a call.

He said, "I jumped at it. I didn't even think twice about it."

The Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association asked them to play GABBAfest, their annual homage to the Macon-based band.

Lead singer Asa Howard said, "We've been talking about this for a long time. We need to do it."

They're slightly older. In most cases, their hair is shorter, but their music is the same -- if not better.

Harmon said, "To me, it's like we stopped for a day and started back again, after 43 years."

After four decades and some change, the band members say it slipped by in a hurry.

But when the music starts, the clock stops. Those old times stand still.

Boogie Chillun' plays their reunion concert Saturday Oct. 12 during GABBA Fest. The show's at the 567 Center for Renewal on Cherry Street.

For ticket information, you can


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